State & Local Government Quiz

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Question 1
Which of the following is an example of a concurrent power?

A
Regulate foreign commerce
B
Build roads
C
Issue currency
D
Declare war
Question 1 Explanation: 
Concurrent powers are the powers that are shared by states and the federal government. Examples of concurrent powers include building roads, establishing courts, enforcing laws, borrowing money, collecting taxes, and protecting citizens.
Question 2
Which of the following is an example of a reserved power?

A
Conduct elections
B
Levy taxes
C
Establish courts
D
All of the above
Question 2 Explanation: 
The 10th Amendment of the US Constitution states that any powers that are not delegated to the federal government are reserved for the states. Examples of reserved powers include conducting elections, establishing schools, establishing local government, regulating local business, and regulating marriages. Taxation and establishing courts are concurrent powers.
Question 3
What happens when a state passes a law which conflicts with a federal law?

A
State laws supersede federal laws
B
Federal laws supersede state laws
C
Federal laws only supersede state laws that are in direct conflict with the U.S. Constitution
D
Local law enforcement decides which laws to enforce
Question 3 Explanation: 
Article VI of the U.S. Constitution contains a supremacy clause declaring federal law “the supreme Law of the Land.” Should a state’s law conflict with federal legislature, it is superseded.
Question 4
Which of the following would be an unfunded mandate?

A
The federal government provides states a grant to improve public school lunches
B
The state of New York is denied funds from the federal government for a public works project
C
Congress passes a law requiring states to pay for three months of parental leave for all workers
D
All of the above
Question 4 Explanation: 
Whenever the federal government enacts a statute or regulation that requires a state or local government to perform certain actions, without providing the funding to implement it, this is known as an unfunded mandate. Such policies are unpopular and often result in legal challenges from the states.
Question 5
How does the federal government influence policy related to the reserved powers of the state governments?

A
The federal government offers grants-in-aid to incentivize federal agendas
B
The federal government cuts off states’ access to federal resources like military protection and the power grid in order to force compliance
C
The federal government uses the FCC to control the media and sway public opinion
D
None of the above
Question 5 Explanation: 
The federal government uses grants-in-aid to encourage states to enact policies with regards to the reserved powers that are consistent with federal initiatives. For example, although the federal government is not constitutionally responsible for education policy, disbursed grant money is often tied to specific education initiatives.
Question 6
State governments all include:

A
An executive branch
B
A legislative branch
C
A judicial branch
D
All of the above
Question 6 Explanation: 
State governments mirror the structure of the U.S. federal government. The three branches exist with checks and balances to ensure they operate fairly and in the best interests of citizens.
Question 7
Which of the following is true of state constitutions?

A
All state governments are the same
B
Unlike the US Constitution, state constitutions cannot be modified
C
State constitutions vary greatly
D
Elements of a state’s constitution can supersede the U.S. Constitution
Question 7 Explanation: 
Although state constitutions are similar in that they establish the rights and laws for their respective states, they are also unique responses to each people’s specific needs.
Question 8
Which of the following is true of state legislatures?

A
All fifty state legislatures are bicameral
B
State legislatures pass laws without approval from another branch of the government
C
State legislators are appointed by the governor
D
Governors can “check” state legislators by approving or vetoing legislation
Question 8 Explanation: 
The governor is the head of the state executive branch. When a state legislature passes a law, the governor, like the President of the United States, has the power to approve it or veto it. All states are bicameral, except for Nebraska which has a unicameral legislature.
Question 9
How did the 1964 Supreme Court case of Reynolds v. Sims impact state legislatures?

A
The state legislatures’ sessions were extended to at least 180 days each year
B
The state’s lieutenant governor is no longer an active participant in state legislatures
C
Legislative seats were apportioned by populations rather than geographic area
D
Legislative seats were apportioned by geographic area rather than population
Question 9 Explanation: 
Reynolds v. Sims addressed an imbalance caused by legislative districts based upon acreage. Before this landmark case, legislators from rural districts represented far fewer citizens than their urban counterparts. By redrawing districts according to population, there is more equal representation across the territory.
Question 10
How can citizens directly participate in the state law-making process?

A
Referendum
B
Impeachment
C
Censure
D
Quorum
Question 10 Explanation: 
Many states allow for referendum votes whereby citizens cast a ballot to either approve or reject a law or constitutional amendment. Some referendums are “non-binding,” i.e., their results alone do not pass a law. The opinions of the voters, however, hold tremendous weight and often steer future legislation.
Question 11
What is the difference between a sales tax and an excise tax?

A
Excise taxes are paid by businesses only, whereas sales taxes are paid by all consumers
B
Excise taxes are paid by customers, whereas sales taxes are paid by sellers
C
Sales tax is applied to most goods and services, whereas an excise tax is an additional tax on specifically targeted items
D
Excise tax is applied to most goods and services, whereas a sales tax is an additional tax on specifically targeted items
Question 11 Explanation: 
Most states have a sales tax which is levied on goods and services purchased within the state. Excise taxes are levied on specific items like gasoline, tobacco, and alcohol.
Question 12
Which of the following types of tax are levied in all fifty states?

A
State income tax
B
State sales tax
C
Both state income and sales taxes
D
Neither state income tax nor state sales tax
Question 12 Explanation: 
While some states have both income and sales taxes, several have only one or the other. For example, Delaware and Montana do not have sales taxes. Neither Alaska nor Nevada have income taxes. These differences in taxation reflect how state governments choose different policies to best suit their citizens.
Question 13
What is the difference between a federal block grant and a federal categorical grant?

A
Categorical grants are tied to specific projects and come with conditions; block grants are broader in scope and allow states more control over allocation.
B
Block grants are tied to specific projects and come with conditions; categorical grants are broader and allow states more control over allocation.
C
Categorical grants can only be used to streamline state government services; block grants can be applied to any number of congressionally approved initiatives.
D
Block grants can only be used to streamline state government services; categorical grants can be applied to any number of congressionally approved initiatives.
Question 13 Explanation: 
States often prefer block grants to categorical grants because they offer greater autonomy. Categorical grants are often tied to federal initiatives and exert pressure on state legislature to contribute to federal policy initiatives.
Question 14
Which of the following is a source of state revenue?

A
Lotteries
B
Sale of government bonds
C
License and permit fees
D
All of the above
Question 14 Explanation: 
While taxes are the largest source of state revenue, the other sources listed here also generate funds for state government programs and initiatives.
Question 15
The state governor is the equivalent of which federal government position?

A
Senator
B
Representative
C
President
D
Judge
Question 15 Explanation: 
The governor is the head of a state’s executive branch just as the President is the head of the federal government’s executive branch.
Question 16
Which of the following is a responsibility of a state governor?

A
Proposing state budgets
B
Commanding the state National Guard
C
Ensuring state laws are enforced
D
All of the above
Question 16 Explanation: 
State governors have a great deal of responsibility. They command the state’s National Guard, oversee state law enforcement efforts, and propose the state budget for the legislature to approve. The governor’s power, however, is checked by the legislative and judicial branches.
Question 17
Which of the following is an executive power held by most state governors, but not by the President of the United States?

A
The enforcement of laws
B
The line-item veto
C
The right to pardon
D
The proposal of budgets to the legislature
Question 17 Explanation: 
Most state governors have the power to issue line-item vetoes. This means that governors can nullify specific lines or items within a bill without having to veto the entire bill. Congress attempted to grant this power to the U.S. President in 1996, but in 1998 the Supreme Court ruled that this law was unconstitutional.
Question 18
How can state governments influence federal elections?

A
By gerrymandering district boundaries
B
By enforcing strict voter I.D. laws
C
By limiting the number of available polling places
D
All of the above
Question 18 Explanation: 
States control elections within their borders. The Civil War Amendments establish equal access to all citizens, but states can still manipulate access to the polls. Gerrymandering is the practice of drawing district lines in irregular ways to favor a particular voting bloc. Voter I.D. laws can be used to dissuade specific populations from voting. By limiting the number of polling places in certain areas, state officials can create long waits that discourage voting.
Question 19
How do state judicial branches check the power of the state legislature?

A
The state judicial branch appoints the ranking member of the state legislature
B
The state judicial branch evaluates whether laws passed by the state legislature are constitutional
C
The state judicial branch can remove the governor from office
D
All of the above
Question 19 Explanation: 
Just as the federal judicial branch determines whether laws passed by Congress are constitutional, the state judicial branches determine whether state laws are constitutional
Question 20
Which of the following is true of local governments?

A
They are explicitly granted their powers by the U. S. Constitution
B
They are granted their powers by state governments
C
They are all bicameral
D
All of the above
Question 20 Explanation: 
Local governments are granted their power by state governments with the mandate of helping to regulate the day-to-day affairs within municipalities. Local governments adopt many forms that reflect the needs of the community and the constitution of the state.
Question 21
How are local governments funded?

A
Property taxes
B
State grant money
C
Local taxes and levies
D
All of the above
Question 21 Explanation: 
Local governments usually derive a large portion of their funding from property taxes, income taxes, and state grant money. A smaller portion of their funding comes from fines and fees collected for permits, parking, and licenses.
Question 22
Which of the following local government institutions most closely resembles the federal legislative branch?

A
Mayor
B
City council
C
Sheriff’s department
D
County court system
Question 22 Explanation: 
In the mayor-council government structure adopted by most municipalities, the city council is made up of elected officials who handle legislative responsibilities.
Question 23
Which of the following would indicate that a city has a “strong” mayor?

A
The mayor consults with the city council as they are drafting the budget
B
The mayor officially represents the city on the state, national, and international levels
C
The mayor may appoint and remove departmental heads
D
The mayor is a member of the city council
Question 23 Explanation: 
The terms “strong” mayor and “weak” mayor represent the amount of power that a mayor holds in a local government. Strong mayors appoint department heads, draft budgets, have veto power, exercise oversight of the city’s day-to-day operations, and enforce city laws. A strong mayor is elected directly by citizens, and is not a member of the city council. Both strong and weak mayors represent the city on the state, national, and international levels.
Question 24
How does a city manager differ from a mayor?

A
A mayor handles day-to-day affairs in a city, whereas a city manager focuses on big-picture, conceptual matters
B
Mayors craft and execute city policy, whereas a city manager is a ceremonial figurehead
C
A city manager is appointed by the city council, whereas a mayor is elected by the city’s citizens
D
All of the above
Question 24 Explanation: 
City managers are very similar to mayors in terms of responsibility and scope. The major difference being that a city manager is appointed by the city council rather by direct election.
Question 25
Which of the following is a shortcoming of the commission form of local government?

A
Commission governments are more expensive than more traditional mayoral models
B
A lack of centralized executive power can make it difficult to create and meet policy goals
C
Voters have no voice in a commission government
D
Commission governments work poorly during emergency situations
Question 25 Explanation: 
A city commission is a form of local government in which elected officials serve on a board that exercises both legislative and executive powers in order to govern a municipality. In addition to their legislative role, each commissioner is responsible for the administration of at least one department, such as fire, police, public works, or finance. One commissioner may be given the title of mayor, but it generally a symbolic title. Without a strong chief executive, there is often deadlock and inaction, with commissioners acting in the interests of their department, rather than the city government as a whole.
Question 26
Which is of the following is true of counties?

A
Most towns and cities encompass multiple counties
B
Most counties encompass many towns and municipalities
C
County officials are appointed by state governors
D
Counties governments cannot levy taxes, fees, or fines
Question 26 Explanation: 
Counties are the largest political and territorial units within a state. They usually include multiple municipalities.
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